Jamaica placing priority on dealing with climate change -Vaz

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 24, CMC – The Jamaica government is giving priority to climate change as it maps out its economic growth strategy, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, has said.
“We have to integrate climate change with the economic path that we are on in terms of economic growth and job creation and make sure that we are treating climate change with the same importance that we are in terms of our economic policy, which is prosperity,” Vaz said as he addressed a five-day climate change training workshop here being attended by delegates from Grenada, Germany and the Czech Republic..
He said the Andrew Holness government is actively seeking international funding in a bid to properly prepare for and address the impacts of climate change on the country.
“We have to make sure that we tap into all of the funds that have been created to help small island countries like Jamaica deal with the issue,” he said, noting that billions of dollars have been spent by Jamaica and other countries of the world in recovering from natural disasters, which have been linked to climate change.
Citing statistics from the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Vaz said that Jamaica lost 7.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006 due to natural disaster.
 He said that for the period 2001 to 2012, Jamaica experienced 11 storms, including five major hurricanes and flood events, which resulted in loss and damage amounting to J$122 billion (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents).
He said the government is engaging in strategies that support the sustainable management and utilisation of the country’s natural resources; sound management of chemical and hazardous wastes; as well as risk reduction and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Focus is also being placed on training and public education to inform Jamaicans about the impact of climate change on their lives.
Vaz commended the team at the Climate Change Division for conducting the five-day training workshop for the Climate Change Focal Point Network.
“This training is fundamental in building the capacities that are required for us as a country to address some of the many issues relating to climate change impacts on the Jamaican society,” he said.
The training workshop is aimed at mainstreaming climate change considerations into development planning.
The Focal Point Network supports the Government’s implementation of measures under the Climate Change Policy Framework and Action Plan across the public sector and the wider society.
The network, comprising representatives from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), collaborates with the Climate Change Division to implement the provisions.

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